Pumpkin soup… slightly spicy, comforting, thick and a pumpkin flavour bomb. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

ILY has created a look that’s cool, contemporary, light and bright. Even the staff uniforms feature a soft pink,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

“I LOVE YOU.” That’s what ILY stands for and the food truly makes your heart go pitter-patter.

Wendy Johnson.

In NewActon, ILY has created a look that’s cool, contemporary, light and bright. Even the staff uniforms feature a soft pink.

We rocked up for lunch and while the menu is compact (six dishes), it’s intriguing, with the food focused squarely on simplicity and the wine list carefully chosen. The menu is designed around sharing, if that’s your preference.

Kent Nhan (co-founder and manager of both ILY and XO in Narrabundah) was on deck on our visit and more than happy to chat about food and wine. Award-winning former Biota Dining (Bowral) chef Tim West heads the team in the kitchen. Kind of says a lot about the quality of food…

We shared the special soup of the day ($15), pumpkin made with coconut and puffed rice.

The slightly spicy soup was comforting, thick and a pumpkin flavour bomb. The rice added both a visual and textural element. 

Coronation chickpea… an open-style sandwich that was a powerhouse of flavours and left just a slight aftertaste on the palette, which was pleasing indeed. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

The second dish we shared – because we were so curious more than starving – was the coronation chickpea, a mega mound of chickpeas on rye with mixed leaves and addictive kettle crisps ($20). This open-style sandwich was also a powerhouse of flavours and left just a slight aftertaste on the palette, which was pleasing indeed.

My eye caught mention of ‘miso mushroom gravy’ with the steak frites ($28). It was a stunner with the miso making its presence known but not overpowering the steak. The rump cap was cooked to perfection and the thin fries were piping hot and seasoned “just so”. At first we thought the gravy looked a bit gluggy but it was velvety, smooth and the right consistency. We want the recipe!

Crumbed whiting… a winner of a dish, served with a classic French gribiche sauce that had kick. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

My friend was attracted to the crumbed whiting ($15), another winner of a dish, served with a classic French gribiche sauce that had kick and inspired us to experiment making it at home.

The crumb wasn’t heavy and the salad simple yet delicious. The whiting was sweet and delicate.

The wine list is carefully curated and ILY offers five whites and five reds by the glass. We accepted the recommendation to try the Clonakilla Viognier (2020) and worshipped every sip ($70 bottle). ILY has loads of love for Australian wines, including a 2015 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz from good old Barossa Valley which sells for $300 a bottle.

The drink menu also features mocktails, cocktails, whiskeys, brandy, sticky and port. A super range of teas are available and ILY takes its coffee seriously.

ILY is the former Morning Glory. Same creative smarts behind the operations… simply new surprises.

Breakfast is breakfast weekdays from 7am to 11.30am and all day on weekends. Lunch is from 11.45am to 2pm. Dinner is Thursday to Sunday, 6pm-10pm. 

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Ian Meikle, editor